So far, 57 comments have been made to USPS Has Too Many Supervisors And Too Many Employees, Congressman Says -- a Dead Tree Edition record -- and the response was even greater on other sites that linked to the article. Postalreporter.com, for example, has 204 comments. The head of the postal supervisors union also objected to the California Republican's "trash talk" and challenged his statistics.
"Without doubt, the supervisory ratio within the Postal Service is far, far higher than 1:7," said Louis M. Atkins, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors. Many comments, though acknowledging that the Postal Service has too many layers of management, also questioned Issa's numbers.
I agree with these folks. After looking at USPS employment statistics (see chart at right from the last annual report), I can't find that many supervisory or managerial employees.
Of the approximately 712,000 employees at the end of last year, more than 90% are in categories like carrier and mail handler that seem clearly to be non-supervisory. Adding the "Postmasters/Installation Heads", "Supervisors/Managers", and all headquarters and area-office employees (even though some are non-supervisory) yields abou t 65,000 -- only 1 in 11 USPS employees.
Perhaps Issa excluded non-career employees from his count. But, assuming he recognizes that part-timers and temps are an efficient way to handle fluctuating workloads, that wouldn't make sense. And, besides, that would only change the ratio to about 1 in 10.
Some commenters wondered whether Issa was including 204Bs (substitute supervisors), but they can hardly be called true supervisors.
And one commenter had an insightful response to Issa: "In fairness, the '1 of 7' that Representative Issa refers to also includes low-level Postmasters at thousands of small post offices in small communities throughout the nation. Many of these Postmasters are the only employee in their office, or have just a few clerks or rural carriers. Their salary is less than that of a city letter carrier. Incidentally, many of these same small offices are ones that Congress prevents USPS from closing!"
Other highlights from the comments:
- "There are far too many managers. I am a manager and I've seen it from both sides. But it is not so much local management as it is people that don't even see the mail, touch the mail or have been inside a post office WORKING for decades and have no clue what is going on. Some district jobs are an all day cake party,"
- "I've been in offices where I was the only one supervising 50+ employees."
- "If the USPS restricted access to Facebook and personal email accounts, our office could eliminate two supervisors."
- "There are 35 routes and 6 clerks in my office yet we have 5 custodians [not techs] to pick up empty trays and trash and mow the lawn. Ridiculous."
- "You all can come work at a REC where the ration is 1:200...and you will never see one of your employees if you don't want to."